The world is awash in shouting these days. Can you feel it?
It’s tax season, and so I’m not spending much time in Facebook, but I know for a fact that there is a lot of anger, frustration and noise about politics. So much so that it seems everywhere you turn these days somebody is agitating over something.
Can I give some unsolicited advice? Tune out.
Yes, everyone is saying that we need to listen to each other, and there is a great deal of truth in that. But in my opinion, the voices we MOST need to listen to are the ones sleeping under our own roofs. The ones we hear on a regular basis — through our actual ears, not just in “virtual land”. The ones that should matter most to us.
Perhaps also the ones who can help you save a boatload on your taxes? Ahem. (Well alright, perhaps that one is a tad self-serving. But really though.)
It’s time to focus on what we are each called to do with our valuable hours. Last time I checked, you weren’t getting paid to inform your friends of the newest, most-reliable, political opinion. You probably aren’t changing many hearts online by pointing out problems. You might in fact just be adding to somebody else’s noise.
Yes, the world is divided and broken. So let’s take a breath, extend grace, and buckle down to the work of each of us moving our specific worlds forward, with excellence and kindness abounding.
And speaking of excellence abounding, can we have a conversation about the tax preparation process? I’ve been doing this long enough to know what it is that makes the process feel good for my clients. It’s the mark we continue to shoot for, and I’d like you to know about how we see our work…
What To Look For In a Tax Professional
“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” -Tom Peters
Unfortunately, with the way that most tax professionals and CPA’s present themselves to the world, it seems like we’re all the same. We all seem to offer the same services, for pretty similar fees. If I weren’t working every day in this industry, I’m pretty sure I would think that all accountants and CPA’s were the same.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You see, each tax professional does have certain qualifications. Some might be experts at this sort of tax law, or in working with farmers or with getting money back through IRS representation, or a whole variety of different things … but are they really providing what you, the consumer, wants?
What do you want from a tax preparer?
When I sit down and talk with my home town regular families, here’s what I discover:
You want to be able to work with a caring professional — NOT one of those “cattle call” shops, where you’re squeezed in with a bunch of other people, and seen by harried, poorly-trained employees who just completed a basic tax course.
You want an accurately-filed tax return. You want the whole thing broken down in terms that you understand, and in a way that you don’t need a translator to communicate. You want there to be processes in place to ensure that the most money is kept out of the grasping hands of Uncle Sam, and in your wallet (legally).
You want a heads up about future ways you can legally add deductions and make sure that you can get even more money back in the future. You want assurances everything your tax preparer is doing for you is valid and correct, so a guarantee(s) is essential to the process.
And of course, you want it done fast. Look, I know this is a big deal for consumers. You don’t want your accountant pushing back at you all the time, saying “give me more time”, when you know it’s not because they’re working hard on your behalf, but that they’re so poorly organized that they’re not getting ANYONE’S work done on time.
Oh, and if you ARE getting a refund, you want a tax firm who can get you the most money back, and soon … with the most options available.
Here’s the bottom line: You want professionalism, accuracy, you want clarity, you want to be aware of beneficial tax options, you want peace of mind, you want an efficient use of YOUR time. And at the end of the day, you want to KNOW you got the most money back from the Treasury AND that the IRS will stay off your back so you can sleep like a baby at night.
If the accountant or tax professional you are talking to can’t do these things, you need to call one that can.